A Nanoscale Liposome Based Bioreactor

Evgueni Pinkhassik*, a, Evguenia Karimovaa, Alexey Wolfsonb, Anastasia Khvorovac

aDepartment of Chemistry, University of Memphis,
Memphis, TN 38152 USA

bDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado,
Boulder, CO 80309 USA

cDepartment of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 80309 USA

This is an abstract for a presentation given at the
Eighth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
There will be a link from here to the full article when it is available on the web.


The term nanomedicine has recently been coined to describe a prospective novel approach to treatment of diseases.[1] The recently published theoretical work outlines and calls for the creation of devices capable of various medical functions, i.e. 'nanomedical robots.'[1] The present work describes one possible prototype of such a device. Our approach is to develop liposome based reactors capable of various chemical transformations in a living organism.

The proposed nanoscale bioreactor is based on the idea of a liposome with non-protein transport systems containing an entrapped enzyme. If introduced directly, enzymes, rybozymes, or catalytic antibodies that can be tailored to a specific chemical transformation, elicit an immune response and degrade in a living environment. The non-protein pores or synthetic transporters facilitate the permeation of small-size hydrophilic substrates and products through the membrane and do not interact with the immune system. The enzyme hidden in a liposome performs catalytic functions while being invisible to the environment of the living organism. The proposed model will solve the problems of chemical and immune stability of catalysts.

Experimental details of the construction of the catalytic liposomes as well as monitoring of the substrate transport and transrormation will be presented. Behavior of this system in an environment modeling a living organism will be discussed.


  1. Freitas, R. A. Nanomedicine; Landes Bioscience 1999.

*Corresponding Address:
Evgueni Pinkhassik
Department of Chemistry, University of Memphis
3744 Walker Avenue
Memphis, TN 38152 USA
Email: pinkhass@eefus.colorado.edu